While many folks enjoy the convenience of an electronic powder scale/dispenser such as the RCBS Chargemaster, some hand-loaders still prefer to use a traditional balance beam. Balance beam scales are simple, compact, and don’t suffer from electronic “glitches”. Moreover, even if you use a digital dispenser at home, when you’re doing load development at the range, a balance-beam scale may be more convenient. A scale doesn’t require electrical power, so you don’t need to bring battery packs or string long power cables. Just bring some kind of box to shelter your beam scale from the wind.
While designs like the RCBS 10-10 are decent performers as built, they can be made much more precise (and repeatable), by “tuning” of key parts. Forum member Scott Parker (aka SParker) optimizes a variety of popular beam scales, including the Ohaus 10-10 (USA-made model), RCBS 10-10 (USA-made model), RCBS 5-10, Lyman M5, Lyman D5, and others. You send Scott your scale, he tunes the key components, tests for precision and repeatability, and ships it back to you. The price is very affordable (under $85.00).
Scott tells us: “I have tuned several 10-10s. They all have turned out very sensitive, consistent and hold linearity like a dream. If only they came that way from the factory. The sensitivity after tuning is such that one kernel of powder registers a poise beam deflection. For repeatability, I remove the pan and replace it for the zero 10 times. The zero line and the poise beam balance line must coincide for each of those 10 tries. I then set the poises to read 250.0 grains. I remove and replace the pan 10 times with the calibration weight. For linearity, the poise beam balance line and the zero line should coincide within the line width. This is roughly one half a kernel of powder. For repeatability, the poise beam balance line must return to that same balance point ten times. I then adjust the poises back to zero and recheck the zero. I have a master’s degree in chemistry, thus I am very familiar with laboratory balances. Email me at vld223 [at] yahoo.com or give me a call at (661) 364-1199.”
The video above, created by British shooter Mark (aka 1967spud), shows a 10-10 beam scale that has been “tuned” by Scott Parker. In the video, you can see that the 10-10 scale is now sensitive to one (1) kernel of powder. Mark also demonstrates the’s scale’s repeatability by lifting and replacing a pan multiple times. You can contact Mark via his website, www.1967spud.com. To enquire about balance-beam scale tuning, call Scott Parker at (661) 364-1199, or send email to: vld223 [at] Yahoo.com.
Video tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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Cabela’s, the large sporting goods enterprise, is sponsoring a six-month sweepstakes with some serious prizes. To enter, you shoot a target, take a photo of the target, and upload the photo with your entry info. For the next six months, February through July, there will be prize drawings each month. Monthly prizes will include firearms, NRA Life Memberships, ammo, shooting accessories and more. For example, this month (February), Cabela’s will give away a new Savage A17 Rifle and 200 rounds of 17 HMR ammo, plus an NRA Life Membership. Next month, the awards include TWO S&W rimfire guns (both rifle and pistol), 1000 rounds of .22LR ammo, plus an NRA Life Membership.
How to Win Prizes
To enter the contest, first shoot a Cabela’s Target, then upload a photo of the target via Twitter, Instagram, on Cabela’s Online Entry Form. You can submit a new entry each month for the February-July period. There will be different winners each month.
Photos must show an official Cabela’s Shooting Park Target to be eligible. The Cabela’s Shooting Park Target can be downloaded for free by clicking on the image at right or THIS LINK.
No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of U.S./DC who are at least 21 years of age. Void in RI and where prohibited. Sponsored by Cabela’s Marketing and Brand Management, One Cabela Drive, Sidney, NE 69160. Odds depend on number of eligible entries received. Approximate value of February prize is $2,069. For details, see Official Contest Rules.
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Here’s a tale that should make you chuckle. This is the kind of boo-boo any shooter can make (but hopefully only once). Our friend Vu Pham from Sacramento was out testing his .260 Rem tactical rifle. Now Vu, an ace NorCal Tactical marksman, is a darn good shooter — but his first three-shot, 200-yard group looked like a shotgun pattern. Vu was puzzled to say the least. (His actual reaction, as noted on the target, was “WTF?!”)
But there was a simple explanation for the rifle’s miserable accuracy — Vu forgot to tighten the crossbolts attaching the rings to his scope rail. Consequently, his scope was moving after each shot. According to Vu, stunned disbelief followed by embarrassment happens “the moment you realized you forgot to torque your scope rings to the base after moving [the scope] the night before. [I felt like a] Freaking nooooob.”
This image shows a barrel in the process of hammer forging. Watch this operation starting at 1:15 in the video linked below.
You have probably heard the term “hammer-forged barrel”. But do you know how the cold hammer-forging process works? In this interesting video from Ruger, you can see the full barrel making process, including cold hammer-forging on a massive machine. Watch long rods of steel barrel material get cut to length, then drilled. After that Ruger uses CNC machines to contour the barrels before hammer forging.
Anyone with an interest in barrel-making should watch this video:
As the barrel is cold hammer-forged, a giant machine literally pounds the barrel from all sides around an internal carbide mandrel, which forms the rifling inside the bore. The actual hammer-forging is illustrated starting at 1:15 in this video. Through the process of cold-working the barrel around the mandrel, the barrel ends up with a longer length, a smaller outside diameter, and a higher hardness.
Before hammer forging, the barrels are deep-hole drilled, four at a time, with a bit that is slightly larger diameter than the caliber planned for the barrel.
Following the drilling, the barrel rod is placed in CNC machines to be turned down to the correct outside shape and size and both ends are trimmed.
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Appeals Court Remands Decision for ‘Strict Scrutiny’ of Second Amendment Issue.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned a Federal District Court decision finding the 2013 State of Maryland Firearm Safety Act (FSA) to be constitutional under “intermediate scrutiny” review. In the Case of Kolbe v. Maryland, the Appellate Court held that Maryland’s FSA should, as a matter of law, be subject to “strict scrutiny” under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Kolbe v. Maryland case was filed to challenge Maryland’s 2013 ban on so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which helped challenge the Maryland law, explained that this bodes well for those seeking to nullify portions of Maryland’s 2013 FSA which imposed broad restrictions on firearms including semi-automatic rifles. The NSSF reports:
The [Appellate Court] vacated the District Court’s denial of the plaintiffs’ claims and remanded the case to the lower court, ordering that it apply the appropriate strict standard of review.
Writing for the three-judge appellate court panel that heard the case, Kolbe v. Maryland, Chief Judge William B. Traxler wrote: “In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment — ‘the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home, District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570,635 (2008), and we are compelled by Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), as well as our own precedent in the wake of these decisions to conclude that the burden is substantial and strict scrutiny is the applicable standard or review for Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim.”
“We are greatly heartened by the Fourth Circuit panel’s ruling today,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “As this important case goes forward, NSSF will continue to work with our co-plaintiffs to ensure that our citizens’ Second Amendment rights are protected and that the lawful commerce in firearms is restored in support of this constitutional protection.”
Response from NRA Institute for Legislative Action
Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement in reaction to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Kolbe v. Maryland: “The Fourth Circuit’s ruling is an important victory for the Second Amendment. Maryland’s ban on commonly owned firearms and magazines clearly violates our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The highest level of judicial scrutiny should apply when governments try to restrict our Second Amendment freedoms.”
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Dry-firing practice can benefit all competitors, particularly sling-shooters. However, for AR15 Service Rifle shooters and High Power competitors using AR-based “spaceguns”, dry-firing is complicated by the charging handle location — pulling back on the handle requires that you move your head placement on the rifle. In addition, extensive AR dry-firing can cause pre-mature wear of an AR’s firing pin. AR shooters take heart — now there are products that allow you to dry-fire your AR more easily, without breaking position, and with no adverse effects on the firing pin.
Creedmoor AR15/M16 Dry-Firing Device Creedmoor Sports offers a Delrin dry-firing device that allows you to reset your AR trigger with a very short pull of the charging handle — plus you don’t have to break position. Machined from solid Delrin, the dry-fire device is inserted into the bolt carrier and limits the swing of the hammer, allowing unlimited dry-firing without the risk of firing pin damage. The trigger pull is unchanged and the shooter can reset the trigger mechanism by cycling the charging handle a mere one-quarter inch or so. The shooter can reset his trigger without breaking position and the lessened impact of the hammer allows the shooter to better evaluate his sight picture and follow-through. Creedmoor’s AR-15/M16 Service Rifle Dry-Fire Device, item #C1051, retails for $18.95
Other AR Dry-Firing Devices MidwayUSA offers a similar Delrin dry-firing device for ARs. Like the Creedmoor unit, this TMA-made device fits in the bolt carrier group and protects the firing pin from damage. The orange unit slips between the buffer and bolt, and permits the trigger reset with only a quarter-inch movement of the charging handle. During storage the device can also provide a safety function by preventing the hammer from hitting the firing pin. But, we caution, don’t leave your gun loaded presuming this device, by itself, will make the gun safe. MidwayUSA’s orange Delrin AR dry-firing device, item #872223, costs $17.29.
Story tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome submissions from our readers.
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Here’s an AR configuration suited to the new AR Mid-Range Prone Discipline: Moderate-length barrel, Harris Bipod, Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 4-12x40mm scope. Photobucket image by Ingo1978.
The NRA has created a new mid-range, target-shooting discipline for AR owners. The provisional rules for the new AR Mid-Range Prone Competition will allow calibers from .22 up to .308. Rifle weight will be limited to 14 pounds. Competitors may use Harris (or similar) compact, “tactical” bipods, and optics up to 12-power will be allowed (but iron sights can also be used). The goal of this new competition is to get the many AR owners to the range to compete.
The NRA’s Information Sheet for the new mid-range discipline explains: “These rifles are of the ‘AR-Platform’ variety, semi-automatic, chambered in any caliber from .223 cal./5.56mm. up to and including .308 cal./7.62mm. The courses of fire will be the same courses of fire currently used for other NRA Mid-Range (Prone) High Power Competition (300, 500, and 600 yards) and are designed to be fired concurrently with other forms of Mid-Range competition. The targets will be the same targets that are used for Service Rifle, Match Rifle, and Palma Rifle Mid-Range Prone competition. Mid-range telescopic sights will be allowed, but not required. Because this is prone competition, shooters may use tactical front rests such as Harris-type bipods and limited rear rests of the type one might find used in military or police tactical situations.”
A very prominent NRA member who works with the Competition Committee recently posted this explanation of the new AR discipline on our Forum:
NRA Mid-Range (Prone) Tactical Rifle (AR)
For those clubs and match directors who have members with ARs who want to shoot Mid-Range Prone but who don’t want (or can’t afford) to shoot traditional “sling” or F-Class, we have a new opportunity to get those ARs out of the closet and onto the range with very little in the way of additional costs:
It’s called Mid-Range Tactical Rifle (AR). A copy of the description and the Rules (Provisional) are attached as a PDF file and should be published by the NRA very soon. CAUTION — these are NOT official — but I think they are accurate:
In brief, here’s how it works:
1. The event will be fired concurrently with any other Mid-Range event, alongside of F-Class and “sling” divisions.
2. The Event will be fired on the “sling targets”.
3. AR Rifle General Standards:
Calibers: 223/5.56 up to and including .308/7.62mm
Weight: Overall weight not more than 14 pounds
Support: Harris-type “tactical bipod” (no large F-Class bipods).
Optics: Scope not more than 12X
Barrel: Not more than 20″
Trigger: Trigger pull not less than 4.5 pounds
4. This is NOT F-Class — this is designed to be closer to “tactical”. F-Class competition gear is generally illegal; competition stocks are generally illegal. [The event] is designed to attract more law enforcement and/or military (maybe local National Guard?) and other “tactical shooters” out to the range shooting for precision. For more info, check out the attached PDF file.
You’ll find a discussion of this new AR Mid-Range discipline in our Shooters’ Forum, HERE: AR Mid-Range Match Forum Thread. Here are some interesting comments from that thread:
“Opening up mid-range matches for ARs is a great idea. I’m not an AR guy myself, but I have lots of shooting friends who are. They tend to have a lot of ideas what their guns are capable of out to 600 yards, but most don’t take many opportunities to shoot them at those ranges, and none of the existing High Power disciplines are very appealing. Until now. I hope it doesn’t become an equipment race. A 185/200 is a respectable score even with a 12″ 10 ring. I hope everyone is supportive — helping get these guys on the paper and providing positive feedback even for scores that seem modest by F-Class standards.” — Comment by Berger.Fan222
“It looks like the recommended targets will be the same as conventional shooters use (i.e. ~1 MOA X-ring). Given the specifications for rifles/bipods/scopes/etc., I think this would be an appropriate level of difficulty to start. It will be challenging, particularly at 600 yards, but by no means impossible. Of course, at 600 yards, anyone shooting an AR15 (.223/5.56) will be at a disadvantage to ballistically-superior calibers unless they come up with a good way to load 80+ grain bullets that will mag-feed. Personally, I’d like to see this limited strictly to .223 ARs. Almost everyone has one and the mag feed requirement would really keep things even across the board. The inclusion of other calibers will allow this to become a ‘caliber race’ in that .223 will have a very hard time keeping up with other, better calibers at 600 yards.” — Comment by gstaylorg
“Looks like a great new addition. The PDF document says rule 7.20 for course of fire which is mid-range slow fire. I believe all slow fire is currently ‘one round loads’. The PDF explicitly states 10-, 20- or 30-round magazines and no sleds. Does anyone know if this new discipline would be fired from magazine or one-round loads? Shooting from magazine would be keeping with the ‘tactical’ aspect and enforcing mag-length loads. But it does not seem to jive with the ‘one round load’ currently stipulated for slow fire?” — Comment by Highpower-FClass
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The NRA Blog has published a nice set of super-sized playing card targets. These boast a variety of aiming points (large and small) so they work well for rifles as well as pistols. On the Queen of Diamonds, aim for the large bull-style designs in the “red zone” or aim for the smaller dots on the periphery. For a real challenge, try to shoot each one of the 26 small red diamonds in the curved, central white stripes.
On the Five of Clubs target, you can aim for the smaller club symbols, or shoot for the orange, purple, and green “dripping paint” bulls in the large, central club. The Ace of Spades target offers a colored bullseye in the center, plus a very small bullseye in the letter “C”. Last but not least, the Eight of Hearts is a perfect choice for a trip to the range on February 14th, Valentine’s Day.
Click Any Image to Download Printable PDF Target:
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Our nominees for the “Hardest-working Heroes” of SHOT Show 2016 are our friends Ed and Steve, aka the 6.5 Guys. Over the course of four days, this tireless duo completed over FIFTY short videos. They visited dozens of manufacturers, finding the “latest and greatest” rifles, stocks, actions, scopes and other hardware. While in Vegas, the 6.5 Guys managed to visit most of the top-flight optics-makers. Here are videos reviewing products from Nightforce, Vortex, and March. To see 50+ more videos, visit the 6.5 Guys YouTube Channel.
2016 SHOT Show Highlights — OPTICS
Nightforce Optics — New SHV 4-14x50mm (FFP)
The new 4-14x50mm SHV scope from Nightforce is available with either 0.1 Mil or 1/4-MOA clicks, with two reticle choices: MIL-R and MOAR.
Vortex Optics — New Razor 6-24x50mm AMG (FFP)
The new 6-24x50mm Razor HD AMG is a made-in-USA scope with a full 25 MOA of elevation in one turret rotaion. Vortex says this scope rivals anything on the market in its category.
March Optics — 3-24x52mm (FFP)
March’s popular 3-24x52mm scope is offered with either 0.1 Mil or 1/4 MOA clicks. The particular model featured in the video has 0.1 Mil clicks and an illuminated reticle. March Optics USA also offers a remarkable 5-50x56mm scope that can work for everything from short-range practical matches to extreme-long-range shooting. One of our staffers has the 5-50X March and he uses it for both Tac Comps and 1000-yard F-Class matches.
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The 2016 Berger Southwest Nationals event is less than a week away. If you need some last-minute practice before this match and you don’t have the time (or money) to load a couple hundred rounds of centerfire ammo, consider rimfire practice. Past F-TR National Champion James Crofts attributes much of his success to plenty of trigger time with his rimfire training rifle.
Rimfire Training for F-Classers
2014 and 2012 U.S. National F-TR Champion James Crofts is one of America’s top F-Class shooters. A member of the 2013 World Championship-winning F-TR Team USA squad, James knows a thing or two about long-range shooting, that’s for sure. But you may be surprised to learn how James sharpens his shooting skills at relatively short distances. You see, James often practices with a .22 LR rimfire rifle at distances from 50 to 200 yards. James tells us: “Shooting my F-Class rimfire trainer saves me money and improves my shot process and wind-reading abilities.”
Remington rimfire 40X barreled action in PR&T LowBoy stock with PT&G bolt.
Rimfire Training Teaches Wind-Reading Skillsby James Crofts
Training with the rimfire is extremely useful and can be done from 25 yards out to 200 yards. I am lucky and can shoot 50 yards right off my back deck. That is far enough that any miscue on rifle handling will show up on the target. I use a two dry-fire to one actual shot routine for my practices. This gives me much more positive reinforcement without any negative reinforcement.
Wind reading is extremely important with a .22 LR rifle. I use a set of smallbore flags to aid my wind calls. The smallbore flags are a must and force you to look at the flags and mirage on each and every shot. If you think the flags at Camp Butner move a lot, try smallbore flags around tall pine trees.
James Crofts — Photo by Kent Reeve.
Rimfire Training Is Cost-Effective
Rimfire ammunition is much less costly than centerfire ammo. Though .22 LR prices have risen in recent years (and rimfire ammo is harder to find), even now I can get a 500-round brick of .22 LR ammo for less than $75.00. That works out to fifteen cents a round. That’s a fraction of the cost of handloading .308 Win match ammo. Heck, you can pay 40 cents a piece for match-grade .308-cal centerfire bullets. Then you have to figure in brass, primers, and powder.
My CMP 40X Rimfire F-TR LowBoy Clone
My quest into the .22 LLR rimfire field started with an email from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) announcing Rem 40X stripped barreled actions for sale. I thought, “Hmmm… Could one of those little 40X barreled actions be turned into a F-Class training rifle?” My gunsmith Ray Bowman of Precision Rifle & Tool was brought in at this point.
After conferring with Ray, it was decided that he could indeed turn this into a F-Class training rifle. Ray contacted Dave Kiff of PT&G and ordered a new bolt for the Remington 40X rimfire action. Next was the stock decision. I decided to go with a PR&T Low Boy F-Class stock — this is an exact clone of the stock for my .308 Win F-TR competition rifle. Then a Jewell trigger was acquired to complete the components. Ray built this just like he would any custom rifle, other than using the stock barrel. The project turned out awesome. The rifle was a hammer from the beginning even with the stock barrel.
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If you’re looking for a sturdy yet lightweight, low-profile bipod, the latest Phoenix Precision model is a top choice. This parallel-arm style bipod is light, strong, and can be adjusted very low to the ground to suit the latest low-profile F-TR rifles. In basic configuration the Minnesota-made Phoenix Precision bipod, weighs 2 pounds, 4 ounces. That’s not the lightest bipod available, but even with a pretty long barrel you can “make weight” in F-TR class easily. Under NRA Rules, an F-TR rifle must not weigh more than 8.25 kg (about 18.15 lb.) including scope and bipod.
Our friend Ray Gross, Captain of the U.S.A. F-TR Team, recently received a very special Phoenix Precision product: “My new bipod from Phoenix Precision just showed up! Phoenix did a special run for the team with our team logo. So cool!” We think it’s great to see a gear supplier produce a special version for the National Team.
If you like long-range shooting, you’ll love this video…
This well-made HD video showcases the operations of the Leupold Optics Academy. The Academy is a combined classroom and field training program focusing on advanced marksmanship skills for tactical shooters and long-range hunters. The field segment includes technical briefings, practice with mildot ranging, shooting from a variety of positions, and extreme-long-range sessions. At a private, backcountry range contracted by Leupold, Academy participants can engage targets out to 2200 meters. We think you’ll enjoy the video. We’d love to get a chance to shoot at that range.
Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Wouldn’t it be great if the lamp in your safe would switch ON as you open the vault door, then shut itself off automatically when you close the safe? Well, that is now possible with the new Automatic Cordless Vault Light from Lockdown (a Battenfeld Technologies brand). This unit features 25 LEDs to provide bright illumination in your gunsafe. A sophisticated, automatic light/motion sensor turns the vault light ON when you open the vault, and then turns the unit OFF after you close the safe. This nice bit of technology retails for $44.95. That’s a bit pricey, but the convenience factor may justify the investment for folks who access their safes frequently.
Automatic ON/OFF operation triggered by light and motion sensor
Two 25 LED lights with 70 Lumens output each
Uses 3 AAA batteries each (not included)
Strong magnet or screw attachment
6 hours continuous runtime per light
Standby time 8,700 hours
Sensor range 5 meters
There is also a smaller, less expensive 5-LED dome model with a light-sensing mode that turns the unit on as you open the vault door. The 5-LED Automatic Cordless Vault Light can be set to automatically turn on as the vault door is opened and ambient light is detected. A selectable, manual on/off mode is incorporated as well. MSRP is $17.99, product number 222809.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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For many Americans, real incomes have stayed flat in recent years, while the true cost of living has risen. Accordingly, it’s important to save money whenever possible. Prices are going up, but wages aren’t following (for most of us). Here are six ways shooters can save money on gear purchases and other shooting-related expenses.
1. Check Out the Forum Classifieds. There are great deals to be found every day in the AccurateShooter Shooters’ Forum. The latest deals are displayed in the right column of every Forum page. To see all the listings, browse through the Forum MarketPlace section which has four main categories:
Guns, Actions, Stocks, & Barrels
Tools, Dies, Rests, Reloading Components & Misc
Scopes, Optics, Sights, Rings, Bases Etc.
Commercial Sales by Paid Sponsors
2. Use Discount Codes to Save. It’s always smart to check for discount codes before you buy. In the Daily Bulletin, we feature “Deals of the Week” every Monday morning, and we provide discount Coupon Codes when available. These can reduce the price substantially or lower shipping costs. Search codes for Brownells, Sinclair Int’l, Cabela’s, and Amazon.com. Check your email also — some discount codes are only announced in email newsletters. If you can’t find a Coupon Code for your preferred vendor, visit RetailMeNot.com and/or SlickGuns.com. Both those sites list current coupon codes, and RetailMeNot.com covers thousands of vendors.
3. Shop for “Demo” Optics. Modern high-quality optics can easily cost $1500.00 or more, often exceeding the value of the rifle on which they are mounted. However, you can often save 20-30% by purchasing demo optics. These are normally display units used at trade shows. They may have slight ringmarks, but otherwise they are “as new”, having never been carried in the field or used on a rifle that has fired live ammo. When purchasing demo scopes, you should always ask about the warranty before consummating the sale. However, most demo scopes from name-brand manufacturers come with full factory warranties. EuroOptic.com and SWFA.com are two respected vendors that offer a good selection of demo optics.
4. Train with Rimfire Rifles. The true cost of shooting a match-grade centerfire rifle, when you consider barrel wear, approaches $1.00 per round. READ Shooting Cost Article. By contrast, decent .22LR target ammo sells for under $0.19 per round (though it is, admittedly, hard to find right now). Good rimfire barrels last a long, long time, so you don’t have to be concerned about wearing out your barrel quickly. A quality rimfire barrel can retain its accuracy for 7,000 rounds or more. If you run the ballistics, a .22LR round at 100 yards can emulate the wind drift experienced by a centerfire cartridge at long range. This allows for effective cross-training with much less expensive ammo.
5. Take Advantage of Factory Rebates. There are some attractive rebates available right now from quality manufacturers such as Bushnell, Leupold, RCBS, and Zeiss. You have to be a bit wary because rebates are typically used to move less-popular merchandise. But some rebates, such as the RCBS ‘Buy Green, Get Green’ Promo, apply to very wide range of merchandise, so it’s hard to go wrong. Just make sure that, when you buy a product, you retain the sales slip and the original packaging (it’s also wise to print out online orders). To qualify for the rebate, you may need to mail in a product identification code found on the box, along with your original sales receipt.
6. Share a Ride to Matches. Gas prices have fallen dramatically in the past year, but fuel remains a significant part of a shooter’s hobby budget, particularly if you drive long distances to compete at major matches. We’d say 90% of shooters drive solo to matches, often in large, gas-guzzling trucks. If you drive 200 miles round-trip to attend a match in a 20-mpg vehicle, you’ll burn nearly $30.00 worth of gasoline on your trip. That adds up. By simply sharing the ride with one fellow shooter you can cut your fuel expenditures in half. And, if you alternate vehicles from one match to the next, you also save on wear and tear on your own vehicle. At $0.50/mile consider the savings.
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Take one look at Lyman’s new Bleacher Blocks, and you’ll say “That’s clever, why didn’t anyone think of that before?” These tiered (stepped) cartridge loading trays save space on your bench AND make it easier to select a particular cartridge from a full block. Each row is a different height for convenience.
Here’s what Lyman says about its innovative cartridge block design: “Just as bleachers allow people to see over those in front of them, our new loading blocks allow for easier handling of cases in and out of the loading block. Our stepped design allows you to easily grip a single case without jamming your fingers down into a group of cases like in traditional loading blocks, and allows for a smaller ‘footprint’ on your bench.”
We see many applications for this stepped cartridge holder. Use the different levels for sorting brass. Or, migrate the brass from top to bottom as you proceed through case prep stages. If you are assembling loads with different bullets for load testing, you could arrange the loaded rounds on different levels for easy recognition. (For example put V-Max loaded rounds on the top tier, and Blitz-King loaded rounds on the bottom tier). Or slice a Bleacher Block in the middle to make yourself twin 25-round stepped Cartridge Caddies.
Made of durable polymer, Bleacher Blocks are molded in three sizes to fit a variety of rifle cases. The smallest size (with 0.388″-diameter holes) fits .223 Rem-size case heads. The middle size (with 0.485″-diameter holes) fits .308 Win-size case heads. The biggest Bleacher Block has 0.565″-diameter recesses to accommodate belted magnum-size cases. All three cartridge block sizes hold fifty (50) rounds. Suggested retail price is $7.95 per block and Lyman expects to start shipping later this month.
Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Chart created with Ammoguide’s Visual Comparison Tool. Visit Ammoguide.com to learn more.
One of our forum members was looking for a very accurate, mid-sized 6.5mm cartridge for target working and coyote hunting. There are many great options including the 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, and Remington .260 (a 6.5-08). If you are considering the 6.5×47 you should read our 6.5×57 Cartridge Guide authored by the 6.5 Guys. This and other 6.5mm cartridges are covered in this introduction to 6.5 mm cartridges prepared by Eben Brown, President of Eabco.com.
Guide to 6.5mm Cartridges
by Eben Brown, EABCO.com, (E. Arthur Brown Co. Inc.)
The current popularity of 6.5mm cartridges in the USA has been a long time in coming. I won’t go into my opinions on why it took so long to catch on. The important thing is that it finally HAS caught on and we’re now so fortunate to have a wide selection of 6.5mm cartridges to choose from!
6.5mm Grendel – Developed by Alexander Arms for the AR15 and military M4 family of rifles. The Grendel fits the dimensional and functional requirements of these rifles while delivering better lethality and downrange performance. There are now similar cartridges from other rifle companies. We chamber for the Les Baer “264 LBC-AR”. Designed for velocities of 2400-2500 fps with 123gr bullets, it shoots the 140-grainers at about 2000 fps (for comparison purposes).
6.5mm BRM – Developed by E. Arthur Brown Company to give “Big Game Performance to Small Framed Rifles” — namely our Model 97D Rifle, TC Contender, and TC Encore. Velocities of 2400-2500 fps with 140gr bullets puts it just under the original 6.5×55 Swede performance.
6.5mm x 47 Lapua – Developed by Lapua specifically for international 300m shooting competitions (with some interest in long-range benchrest as well). Case capacity, body taper, shoulder angle, and small rifle primer are all features requested by top international shooters. You can expect velocities of 2500-2600+ with 140 gr bullets.
6.5mm Creedmoor – Developed by Hornady and Creedmoor Sports, the 6.5mm Creedmoor is designed for efficiency and function. Its shape reaches high velocities while maintaining standard .308 Winchester pressures and its overall length fits well with .308 Win length magazines. You can expect velocities of 2600-2700+ fps with 140gr bullets.
.260 Remington – Developed by Remington to compete with the 6.5mmx55 Swedish Mauser that was (finally) gaining popularity in 1996. By necking down the 7mm-08 Remington to 6.5mm (.264 cal), the .260 Remington was created. It fit the same short-action [receivers] that fit .308 Win, .243 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, etc. You can expect velocities of 2600-2700 fps with 140gr bullets in the 260 .Remington.
[Editor’s Note: In the .260 Rem, try the Lapua 120gr Scenar-Ls and/or Berger 130gr VLDs for great accuracy and impressive speeds well over 2900 fps.]
6.5mm x 55 Swedish Mauser – This was the cartridge that started the 6.5mm craze in the USA. It is famous for having mild recoil, deadly lethality on even the biggest game animals, and superb accuracy potential. Original ballistics were in the 2500 fps range with 140gr bullets. Nowadays handloaders get 2600-2700+ fps.
[Editor’s Note: Tor from Scandinavia offers this bit of 6.5x55mm history: “Contrary to common belief, the 6.5×55 was not developed by Mauser, but was constructed by a joint Norwegian and Swedish military commission in 1891 and introduced as the standard military cartridge in both countries in 1894. Sweden chose to use the cartridge in a Mauser-based rifle, while Norway used the cartridge in the Krag rifles. This led to two different cartridges the 6.5×55 Krag and 6.5×55 Mauser — the only real difference being safe operating pressure.”]
6.5-284 Norma — This comes from necking the .284 Winchester down to .264 caliber. Norma standardized it for commercial ammo sales. The 6.5mm-284 was very popular for F-Class competition and High Power at 1,000 yards. However, many F-Class competitors have switched to the straight .284 Win for improved barrel life. 6.5-284 velocities run 3000-3100+ fps with 140gr bullets.
.264 Winchester Magnum – Developed by Winchester back in 1959, the .264 Win Mag never really caught on and may have delayed the ultimate acceptance of 6.5mm cartridges by US shooters (in my opinion). It missed the whole point and original advantage of 6.5 mm cartridges.
The Original 6.5mm Advantage
The special needs of long-range competition have skewed things a little. However the original advantages of 6.5mm cartridges — how deadly the 6.5mms are on game animals, how little recoil they produce, and how easy they are to shoot well — still hold true today.
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At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Natchez — 8.5-25x50mm Leupold VX-3 for $649.99
This is a heck of a deal. This Editor owns this very same Leupold 8.5-25x50mm VX-3 scope and I paid about a grand for it many years ago. The 25X max magnification is plenty for varmint hunting and most target work. If you don’t need 25X magnification, Natchez also sells the Leupold VX-3 4.5-14x40mm scope for just $489.90. Both these optics are protected by Leupold’s famed lifetime warranty.
2. CDNN Sports — Remington 597 for $149.99
Looking for a “first rifle” for a family member?. Consider this semi=auto Remington 597. It currently retails for just $149.99. That’s right, for under $150 you can get a reliable, self-feeding rimfire rifle that will provide years of fun for a young shooter. The 597 has a stock that’s sized right for both youngsters and adults. Receivers are dovetailed for standard rimfire rings and are also drilled and tapped to allow mounting of Weaver-style bases.
3. Amazon.com — RCBS ChargeMaster for $289.99
Here’s a very good deal on the popular RCBS ChargeMaster combo scale/powder dispenser. This unit sells elsewhere for up to $389.00. You may want to act quickly as Amazon pricing changes frequently. We also saw this item on sale at MidwayUSA recently.
4. GunBuyer.com — Federal .22 LR Ammo, $24.99 for 325 Rds
Here you go — name-brand rimfire ammo for just 7.7 cents per round. Can’t complain about that price. According to Ammoseek.com, this is the least expensive name-brand .22 LR rimfire ammo you can buy. This Federal AutoMatch .22 LR rimfire ammo features a 40gr Lead RN projectile. It feeds well in semi-auto rifles as well as bolt guns.
Need bullets for an upcoming spring varmint safari? Midsouth has slashed prices on its Varmint Nightmare X-Treme (VNX) hollow-point bullets, in both .204 and .224 calibers. The .204-cal 34gr VNXs and .224-cal 34gr VNXs are just $45.52 for 500 bullets. (That works out to just $9.10 per hundred!) If you prefer a heavier .22-cal bullet, Midsouth sells 50gr VNX soft-points for $48.82/500, and 55gr VNX hollow-points for $51.50/500.
6. Grafs.com — Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press on SALE
If you’ve been patiently waiting to acquire a Forster Co-Ax® reloading press, now’s the time to strike. Grafs.com has Co-Ax presses on sale this week at $289.99. That includes shipping charges (with one flat $7.95 handling charge per order).
The Kahr CT9 is still one of the very best 9mm carry pistols around. We tried one at SHOT Show and spoke to Kahr’s President, Justin Moon. This gun has a better, smoother trigger pull than most other carry pistols. The grip is comfortable, and the exterior is very smooth and clean, with nothing to snag. If you need a 9mm pistol, this is a good gun at a great price.
8. Harbor Freight — 11-Drawer Rolling Tool Cabinet, $159.99
This 27″-wide Roller Tool Cabinet makes a nice addition to any loading room or workspace. The 11 drawers will hold tools, reamers, dies, and spare parts. Larger items (such as tumbling media), can be placed on the lower shelf. Now through the end of February, this rolling cabinet is on SALE for just $159.99 with Super Coupon #74449393. Print out the coupon or ORDER ONLINE with Coupon pricing.
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Here are the schedules for some of the major USA rifle matches to be held in 2016. These items, as well as dozens of other regional/sectionals matches, are listed in Shooting Sports USA’s 2016 Competition Calendar. That 2016 Competition Calendar also provides basic information on 15 competitive shooting organizations, including USA Shooting, IDPA, IPSC, NBRSA, FCSA (.50 Cal), and more.
2016 NATIONAL RIFLE AND PISTOL CHAMPIONSHIPS — Camp Perry, Ohio
July 8-9: CMP Rimfire Sporter Clinic and Match
July 11-16: Pistol Matches
July 25-30: CMP High Power Rifle and Games Event
July 31-August 4: NRA High Power Rifle and Mid-Range Championship
August 5-9: NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championship
August 10-14: CMP Events (TBA)
NOTE: Online registration for National Championship will be available March 2016.
2016 NRA F-CLASS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS — Lodi, Wisconsin
September 23: MR Warm-Up Practice
September 24-27: MR Individual and Team Championships
September 27: LR Warm-Up Practice (PM)
September 28-October 1: LR Individual and Team Championships
Program and registration will be available by mid-April 2016. For information now, contact: Karin Liebetrau, 10890 Cornell Dr., Viola, WI 54664; Telephone: 608-345-7989; email: ekl @ mwt.net.
2016 NATIONAL SMALLBORE RIFLE CHAMPIONSHIP — Bristol, Indiana
July 10-14: Conventional Prone Championship
July 15-16: Conventional 3-Position Championship
July 17-18: Metric Position Smallbore Rifle Championship
The 2016 National Smallbore Rifle Championships (Metric Position and Conventional Prone/Position) will be held July 10-18, 2016. The Chief Wa-Ke’-De Range has 100 covered firing points. The Smallbore Championship Program should be viewable online starting March 1, 2016 and online registration will commence April 1, 2016. For more information contact HQ Moody, hmoody @ nrahq.org or Lois Wenzell at lwenzell @ nrahq.org.
2016 NATIONAL SILHOUETTE CHAMPIONSHIPS and BLACK POWDER TARGET RIFLE CHAMPIONSHIP — Raton, New Mexico
July 3-5: Smallbore
July 7-9: High Power
July 12-15: Cowboy Rifle
July 19-20: Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (Scope)
July 22-23: Black Powder Cartridge Rifle
July 25-30: Black Powder Target Rifle
Program and entry cards will be available April 1, 2016. Contact: NRA Silhouette Dept., 11250 Waples Mill Rd., Fairfax, VA 22030; (703) 267-1474 or silhouette @ nrahq.org.
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This Wednesday (February 3, 2016), Shooting USA TV features the 2015 GAP Grind Pro-Am held at the K&M Shooting Complex in Finger, TN. Conducted in association with the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), the GAP Grind features a Pro/Am format with professional and amateur competitors vying for individual glory and team honors.
Here is Shooting USA Host John Scoutten (in Blue/White shirt)
Lots of Action, with 20+ Stages
The GAP Grind is a notoriously challenging, “high tempo” match with minimal down-time between stages. Over the course of 20+ stages, competitors will fire 200+ shots at a variety of steel, paper, moving, and reactive targets out to 1,200 yards. Targets vary in size/difficulty based on the shooter’s position, distance, and time allotted. Most stages include “stressors” — i.e. time limits or required movement(s).
GAP Grind Hardware Shelley Giddings, a skilled shooter of both firearms and cameras, snapped these images of state-of-the-art tactical rifles at the 2014 GAP Grind. See more firearms images on Shelley’s Facebook Page.
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We hear there’s a bit of snow on the ground on the East Coast. Don’t fret — the white stuff doesn’t need to impede your shooting sports fun — if you take some inspiration from a pair of young Canadian lasses. These clever Canucks have managed to combine the quintessential Canadian sport, Ice Hockey, with skeet/trap shooting. This is just the thing to do with a good friend on a sunny winter’s day with snow still on the ground.
Watch Video — See Girl Shoot Clay Flung with Hockey Stick
Here’s how it works. A launcher is set up with a sheet of cardboard on a snow ramp. A clay pigeon is placed at the base of the ramp. Then the “flinger”, armed with a regulation hockey stick, sends the clay pigeon up the snow ramp and into the air. (Follow-through is important.) Then it’s just like regular skeet shooting. The shooter brings scattergun to bear and tries to hit the clay on the fly. With a good hit, it disintegrates in a black puff.
Kudos to Canada’s Danielle Bergen and her sharp-shooting friend for producing a great video. Overhead views were filmed with a camera-equipped flying drone.
Skockey in the Winter Olympics?
We wonder how this combo-sport was invented (large quantities of Molson Beer may have been involved we suppose). This new hybrid sport doesn’t have an official name yet. We suggest “Skockey” (“skeet” + “hockey”). Whatever you call it, we like this new sport. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Skockey in the Winter Olympics some day.
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